Enforced disappearances: Home secretary to be summoned if JITs not formed, warns SHC

Orders SHO to register case against Rangers if offence established over ‘illegal detention’ of MQM worker


Our Correspondent March 14, 2016
Orders SHO to register case against Rangers if offence established over ‘illegal detention’ of MQM worker PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI:


The Sindh High Court warned on Monday to summon the home secretary if its directives to form joint investigation teams (JIT) to probe missing persons cases were not acted upon in three days.


A division bench, headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, gave the warning when different petitioners informed the court that its directives to the home secretary [to constitute JITs] were not complied with so far.

The bench, which also comprises Justice Zafar Ahmed Rajput, is hearing at least 60 petitions regarding alleged enforced disappearances of various citizens, including activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), by the police and Rangers from Karachi.

Every Monday, the division bench takes up cases of missing persons. At the outset of Monday's proceedings, the judges were informed that law enforcers had taken into custody several citizens, including Danish, Ayaz, Fayyaz and others, at different times from across the city.

The lawyer of the missing persons' families alleged that instead of registering an FIR, police officials are harassing the petitioners.

At this, the bench asked the petitioners to submit written applications against police officials who are allegedly harassing them so a court order could be passed accordingly.

The court was also informed that its earlier directives to the home secretary to constitute JITs to probe into the petitioners' allegations had not yet been complied with.

The two judges directed the home secretary to comply with the court's directives within three days. Otherwise, the home secretary will be called personally to explain the 'disobedience', they warned.

MQM workers' detention

The same bench, meanwhile, also directed the relevant SHO to record the statement of relatives of a missing MQM activist and register an FIR if any cognisable offence is found.

Relatives of Muhammad Waseem had approached the court stating that the Rangers had taken him into custody in September last year. The lawyer alleged that the family had approached the relevant police station to register an FIR against the paramilitary force for illegally detaining Waseem, but their request was not entertained.

The bench directed the SHO to record the family's statement and register an FIR according to law.

The same bench, meanwhile, also granted time, till April 18, to the Rangers for filing comments regarding the whereabouts of the 'missing' MQM worker, Kashif alias David.

Kashif's wife, Rahila, had moved court against Rangers for allegedly detaining her husband since August 2015.

The petitioner said the law enforcers had arrested her husband from Dubai on August 6 last year and brought him back to the country. Around five months later, a Rangers spokesperson had announced his arrest on February 8, 2016, she added.

Rahila stated, however, that neither the paramilitary force is disclosing the detainee's whereabouts nor was the family being allowed to meet him.

She further said the Rangers have not informed the anti-terrorism court about Kashif's preventive detention for 90 days under the anti-terrorism law nor has it produced him in any other court of law.

"This act on the part of the respondent (Rangers) is a violation of laws," the petitioner argued, pleading the court to order a family meeting with the detainee, who may also be ordered to be produced in a court of law. On Monday, the counsel of the paramilitary force requested time to file comments in the case. Allowing the request, the bench directed him to submit the comments by April 18.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2016.

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